April 2013 reading list

Books I’ve already talked about
Picture Book Monday
A Life in Secrets by Sarah Helm
Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester
Jinx by Sage Blackwood (with a fun discussion in the comments, including an appearance by the author!)
The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer
Theatre Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones. I read this one hoping I would like it more than the first time–and I think I do see a little more clearly what DWJ was trying to do. But the end still remains incredibly problematic for me, from both a critical and a craft point of view.
The Element of Fire by Martha Wells
The Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells
Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Other books
Kiki Strike: The Empress’s Tomb by Kirsten Miller: I liked this one a lot! Maybe just a little bit less than the first book, if only because it’s not shiny and new. But there’s plenty of fun and hijinks.

I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley: Flavia at Christmas! I found this one a bit more forgettable than the others, partly because I’m becoming impatient for something to actually happen–the different subplots are starting to feel a little too drawn out. But still, Flavia!

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle: Ah, beloved classic of many an SFF nerd’s childhood. Which I had never read before. And which, erm, I suspect must have been read in childhood to be properly appreciated. I didn’t dislike it, but it certainly didn’t have any real attraction for me. I think that if I had read it when I was younger, I would have liked it a lot.

Wizard Hall by Jane Yolen: This was a re-read from a looong time ago (over ten years). I remembered reading it and thinking that it was quite a bit like Harry Potter in some ways, particularly the resolution. Now I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking of. It’s a very slight book and in some ways unsatisfying as an adult reader. WHY did things happen the way they did? and WHAT were the characters’ motivations? Still, it has all of Yolen’s facility of writing.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol: It took me forever to read this one, which everyone loved. I liked it a lot–the thoughtful mix of storylines and characters. I also liked the muted palette of the artwork. I didn’t necessarily find it mind blowing in the way others seemed to, maybe because I’m reading so long after publication.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand
The Chocolate Kiss
by Laura Florand: These are fun light reads–contemporary romances set in Paris. I enjoyed them a lot, although I’m not really big on contemporary romances at the moment. I think The Chocolate Kiss, with its lovely descriptions of La Maison Sorcières, is my favorite. Florand has just released The Chocolate Rose, which I hope to read soon.

Will Sparrow’s Road by Karen Cushman: I luuurrrrrved Cushman’s recent Alchemy of Meggy Swann, so I was hoping that Will Sparrow would be just as awesome. I have to admit, I didn’t connect with it as much–Will stays a mostly unlikeable character in a way that Meggy doesn’t. I do also remember being very tired when I read this, so my reaction may not be entirely fair. But still, I think I will re-read Meggy and I’m not sure I’ll try to re-read Will.

Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson: A fun middle grade from Eva Ibbotson. I’ve mostly read her adult/YA (depending on packaging) novels, although in the far distant past I did read The Secret of Platform 13. Which Witch? is lots of fun and reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones in some ways. Also, it’s one of those middle grade books where it makes no sense that this is middle grade–it’s about adults, and a wicked wizard getting married, for goodness sake!–but it just IS middle grade, and I defy anyone to say otherwise.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson: Another book I am really, really late reading! It’s fascinating, though, so if any of you have been putting off trying it, stop! The story of the American ambassador to Germany in the years just before WWII, In the Garden of Beasts tells a complicated story of tangled expectations, loyalties, and friendships. While I’m not sure I ultimately view the Dodds as positively as Larson does, I did find their story riveting.

The Year of Learning Dangerously by Quinn Cummings: I saw this one mentioned on Unshelved and was immediately curious, especially when I saw a mention of a Shakespeare group in Southern California. Could it be Melissa Wiley? Spoiler alert: it was. But more than that, I liked Cummings’ memoir of her first year as a homeschooling parent a lot. It was funny, honest, and open to other ways of homeschooling even if, in the end, Cummings didn’t agree exactly with their methods. I also thought it was helpful to have someone who’s fairly mainstream articulate arguments for homeschooling.

Tum Tum and Nutmeg: Rose Cottage Tales by Emily Bearn
Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt

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4 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

4 responses to “April 2013 reading list

  1. Mecque

    In the Garden of Beasts was most interesting when it was about the daughter, I thought. If someone is willing to write about a very unlikeable protagonist her story would make good fiction. Maybe not YA … on second thought “in love with a powerful Nazi” might not work at all. Anyway, her story was oddly romantic in places.

    Which Witch is perfectly middle-grade. Marriage is presented as weird and silly at best. I’m glad you liked it. Whenever I need to laugh I reread the chapter where our evil wizard finally meets Belladonna.

    • Maureen E

      Yes, I agree! I had a lot more sympathy for her than for her father, who came across as oddly ineffectual and not so much principled as naive.

      I think Which Witch totally IS middle-grade, but it’s interesting to see how the standard age-of-protagonist delineation really doesn’t work for it, as for many other books. And I did enjoy it a lot…I’ll have to seek out some more of Ibbotson’s mg.

  2. Pingback: April 2015 round up | By Singing Light

  3. Pingback: November 2015 round up | By Singing Light

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